“I strongly believe in the power of an education. When Aboriginal students achieve, everyone achieves.”
— Leonie Short
We’re thrilled that Leonie Short (above, right) has joined our team, taking over the role of Program Manager from Tina Raye, who is now our Program Director.
A Bundjalung woman, Leonie grew up on the far north coast of NSW. For the past 20 years she has worked as a primary school teacher, at first in schools in some lower socio-economic areas of western Sydney and more recently in the Shoalhaven region of NSW, a couple of hundred kilometres south of the metropolitan area.
“I know I’ll miss the face-to-face teaching and contact with students,” Leonie admits, “but I’m really looking forward to working with little kids living in remote communities.”
When Leonie started her teaching career she was just one of a few Aboriginal teachers employed in NSW schools. Since then, their numbers have grown exponentially. So much so that these days most of Leonie’s friends are also Aboriginal teachers!
Just prior to taking on her role with our Foundation, Leonie was relieving Deputy Principal at a NSW public school where nearly 25% of the students were from Aboriginal families. Although she really loved her work in classrooms, something clicked when she saw the ad for ILF Program Manager in the Koori Mail earlier this year, and she decided it might be time for a new career challenge.
“I’m pretty passionate about literacy and what the ILF stands for,” she says. “And about maintaining Indigenous languages.”
Leonie brings a wealth of experience, not only in working with Indigenous kids but also in delivering literacy programs, to her role with us and has just spent her first week on a whirlwind field trip with other team members to the APY Lands for the launch of two picture books written in Pitjantjtatjara.
“I’m still trying to wrap my head around everything, but for me it’s all about empowering communities.”
Welcome to ILF, Leonie! We’re really looking forward to working with you.